Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (2024)

Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (1)

Movie Locations Guide


Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (2) City Locations

Pittsburgh, PA; Virginia (USA); Bimini (Bahamas)

Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (3) Location Types

House, Museum, Hospital

Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (4) Location Styles

Dilapidated/Neglected, Craftsman, Colonial, Rustic, Beachfront

About The Silence of the Lambs

Prepare to be plunged into the depths of psychological horror with the iconic film The Silence of the Lambs. This cinematic masterpiece, released in 1991 and directed by the innovative Jonathan Demme, will grip you from the opening credits to the closing scene. Anchored by a pair of career-defining performances from Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, the film is renowned for exploring chilling themes and exceptional craft in filmmaking.

Foster shines as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a young and diligent FBI trainee, is chosen to delve into the mind of an incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). This unlikely pairing is set against a chilling hunt for another serial killer, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), a case that binds Starling and Lecter in a twisted cat-and-mouse game of wits and deception.

The Silence of the Lambs, based on the captivating novel by Thomas Harris, stands proudly among its peers, delving into the depths of identity, power, and the captivating grey area between good and evil. The film's indelible performances are a testament to cinematic brilliance, with Foster's unwavering resolve as a captivating juxtaposition to Hopkins' calculated and menacing presence.

The excellence of The Silence of the Lambs was recognized worldwide, scoring five prestigious Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It also marked Demme's victory for Best Director, solidifying his place in filmmaking history. Foster and Hopkins were honored for their performances, winning Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively. The shrewdly adapted screenplay did not go unnoticed, winning its award.

Further adding to its accolades, the film triumphed at the Golden Globes, winning the Best Motion Picture – Drama award. Critics and audiences continue to recognize The Silence of the Lambs for its chilling narrative, unforgettable characters, and brilliant storytelling.

The Silence of the Lambs Locations

Set in the enchanting surroundings of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this iconic film offers a tour through the intriguing hubs of western Pennsylvania. From the renowned Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Oakland, where Clarice Starling meets the entomologist, to the grand structures of the Allegheny County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, which was unveiled as the 'Memphis Town Hall,' each locale is steeped in cultural significance and brimming with intrigue.

Venture more profoundly, and the journey takes you to the formerly intimidating Administration Building of the Western Center in Canonsburg, which served as the exterior of the chilling 'Baltimore Hospital.' Although this building no longer exists, the area still echoes the haunting presence of Hannibal Lecter. The city's history is further immortalized in the abandoned Westinghouse turbine factory, Keystone Commons, which housed many of the film's spine-chilling scenes.

Famed locales such as the Allegheny County Jail and the Greater Pittsburgh National Airport also bear the mysterious charisma of the movie. How about a visit to Starling's workplace, the FBI training HQ based in Quantico, Virginia? Or, for admirers of the tropical and the incredible, a visit to Alice Town on the island of North Bimini in the Bahamas? Known for big game fishing and esteemed to be the site of Atlantis, it's where Dr. Lecter spends his days after his memorable escape.

A trip to these locations is not merely a fan pilgrimage but also an opportunity to explore a mix of contrasting landscapes, fascinating history, and a vibrant cultural scene. It's a journey worth taking for those who appreciate cinematic brilliance, unique architectural wonders, and the allure of ancient legends.

Clarice's training scene in The Silence of the Lambs

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Quantico, VA, USA

The movie opens with a jogging scene of Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an extremely talented trainee at the FBI Academy. Her routine training takes an unforeseen turn when Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) handpicks her to present a VICAP questionnaire to the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins).

The backdrop for this pivotal moment in the film is the real-life FBI Training Facility at Quantico, a United States Marine Corps installation near Triangle, Virginia. Known as the "Crossroads of the Marine Corps," the base is primarily used for training. It also houses the FBI Academy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's principal research and training facility, and the main training facility for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In a remarkable decision, the FBI Academy generously allowed filming these scenes within their premises. To add an extra touch of authenticity, actual FBI agents even appeared as background extras in the film. This collaboration further enhances the credibility of the production.

The usual route to Quantico is to head south from Washington, D.C., on Interstate 95. It's important to remember that access is limited to authorized personnel only, as it serves as a military base and federal training facility.

Starling meets Lector scene in The Silence of the Lambs

1000 Noble Energy Dr, Canonsburg, PA 15317, USA

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) visits the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Here, she is led by Dr. Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald) to the unnerving Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Initially pleasant and courteous, he quickly becomes impatient with Starling's attempts to analyze him, leading to a tense exchange. As Starling leaves, another patient assaults her, an act that enrages Lecter and prompts him to offer her a cryptic clue about a former patient.

The scene has gained iconic status in cinematography and was recently featured in the fourth season of "Stranger Things."

This intense scene was filmed at the Western Center in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, which stood in for the 'Baltimore Hospital.' Located about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh along I-79, this former mental hospital provided the perfect backdrop for the chilling encounter between Starling and Lecter. The building's imposing architecture and bleak atmosphere helped to heighten the suspense and unease of the sequence.

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However, despite its historic landmark status, the Western Center was demolished in 2011. Today, the headquarters of Mylan Pharmaceuticals stands in its place. While you can no longer visit the original filming location, it's possible to reach the area where it once stood by traveling south from Pittsburgh on I-79 to Canonsburg.

Fans should make their way to Canonsburg, a pleasant 30-minute drive from Pittsburgh via I-79 N and I-376 E. Public transport is also available, albeit with a slightly longer travel time of approximately an hour. Once in Canonsburg, it's just a quick 7-minute car ride from the city center to reach your destination.

Lecter escapes from the cell scene in The Silence of the Lambs

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, 4141 Fifth Ave 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) stages a daring escape from his cell. His minders, preoccupied with moving his sketches, are lured too close to him and fall prey to his cunning tactics.

The local police arrive to find a scene of horror: one guard barely clinging to life and the other gruesomely displayed on the bars of Lecter's cage, disemboweled and arranged like an angelic figure. As paramedics rush the surviving guard to an ambulance, a SWAT team scours the building for any trace of Lecter. The tension escalates when the team finds a body atop the elevator car, only for the shocking reveal that Lecter has disguised himself as the injured guard, killed the paramedics, and fled to the airport.

This iconic scene was filmed at the Allegheny County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum. Serving as the movie's 'Memphis Town Hall,' this military museum is part of the University of Pittsburgh. This memorial is the grandest tribute in the United States, dedicated exclusively to honoring the brave men and women who have served in the military across all branches. Today, the site looks exactly as it did in the film, making it a must-visit for fans of The Silence of the Lambs.

You have several transportation options to reach the museum from the city center: taxi, car, or bus. If you prefer taking the bus, you can catch buses #61 A, B, or C from the Fifth Ave + Wood St stop, conveniently taking you straight to the museum. Alternatively, if you choose to drive, follow Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh until you reach the distinguishable landmark building.

Starling travels to Bimmel's room scene in The Silence of the Lambs

1364 Front St, Crescent Township, PA 15046, USA

Clarice (Jodie Foster) travels to the Ohio hometown of one of Buffalo Bill's victims, Bimmel (Harry Northup). As she delves into Bimmel's background, she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: Bimmel and Buffalo Bill were tailors. In Bimmel's room, Starling uncovers evidence suggesting Buffalo Bill, real name Jame Gumb (Ted Levine), is crafting a suit of human skin. Gumb, who identifies as a transsexual but was deemed too violent to undergo sex-change surgery, emerges as the main antagonist of the story.

This crucial scene was filmed at a private residence at 1364 Front St in Crescent Township. The house, which is not currently for sale, remains privately owned and is off-limits to fans for interior visits. However, the property's exterior, which appears remarkably similar to how it did in the film, can be observed from a respectful distance. This adds an eerie sense of authenticity to the location, enhancing its appeal to film fans.

You must travel from Pittsburgh via PA-65 N; in 25 minutes, you will reach the site. Respect the residents' privacy and observe the property only from public areas. Despite the restrictions, the site's atmosphere and uncanny resemblance to its depiction in the film make it a worthwhile destination for any "Silence of the Lambs" aficionado.

The Buffalo Bill house scene in The Silence of the Lambs

8 Circle St, Perryopolis, PA 15473, USA

Clarice (Jodie Foster) finds herself in the residence of "Jack Gordon." It quickly dawns on her that "Gordon" is none other than the psychopathic killer Buffalo Bill or Jame Gumb (Ted Levine). As Gumb slips away into the darkness of his basem*nt, Starling bravely follows him down.

Starling comes across Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith), one of Gumb's victims, screaming from the depths of a dry well. Suddenly, the lights go out, plunging Starling into complete darkness. Gumb, equipped with night vision goggles, silently stalks Starling, ready to strike. However, attuned to the faint sound of his revolver's hammer being drawn back, Starling spins around and fires, killing Gumb and ending his reign of terror.

The exterior shots of Buffalo Bill's house were filmed in the quaint town of Layton. On the other hand, the eerie basem*nt scenes were shot in a former airplane turbine factory. This multilevel location allowed the filmmakers to capture the scenes from above, creating the illusion of a trapdoor and amplifying the claustrophobic atmosphere of the narrative.

To get to Layton, you can travel along PA-51 N if you are coming from Pittsburgh. The road will take 47 minutes. Please note that while the house's exterior can be observed, it remains private.

The last call from Lector scene in The Silence of the Lambs

Alice Town, The Bahamas

At the graduation party, Clarice (Jodie Foster), now an FBI agent, receives a phone call from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). He assures Starling that he has no intention of pursuing her, adding a chilling note of suspense to their conversation. As he concludes the call, he remarks cryptically that he's "having an old friend for dinner" before hanging up and trailing Dr. Chilton (Anthony Heald) through the picturesque village streets.

This scene was set against the backdrop of Alice Town, located on North Bimini in the Bahamas. The Bimini Islands – the closest Bahamian islands to the USA, positioned just 50 miles off the coast of Florida – serve as Lecter’s tropical retirement home in the movie. The islands, renowned for big game fishing, were once a residence of Ernest Hemingway, who wrote about them in his novel "Islands in the Stream." Additionally, the Biminis are believed to have been the site of Atlantis and are said to house the 'Fountain of Youth,' the Healing Hole, located on South Bimini.

To get to Bimini from the USA, you can take a short flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale airports. Alternatively, there are also ferry services available from Miami. When visiting Alice Town, renting a car and exploring its renowned landmarks is highly recommended.


The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is a riveting exploration of the depths of human malevolence, brought to life by stellar performances and a spine-chilling script.

Set against the captivating backdrop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the film takes viewers through iconic locations, each adding a layer of cultural richness to the narrative. Notable sites include the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Allegheny County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, both as intriguing backdrops for crucial scenes.

For those who appreciate the art of cinema, The Silence of the Lambs is worth watching. The film's locations, steeped in cultural significance, offer an intriguing exploration for cinephiles and travelers alike. Despite its grim themes and graphic content, the film's exceptional storytelling, remarkable performances, and fascinating locales make it a must-watch and must-visit cinematic experience.

Where was The Silence of the Lambs filmed? (2024)
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